Wellness Blog March 6, 2021

Issue 4 - The Importance of Family Time!

In Ontario, the Government established Family Day in order to give hard-working individuals more time with their loved ones.

Research has shown that family time has profound benefits. Why is there so much emphasis on being with loved ones? Besides lengthening lives, spending time with family has other benefits. It can lower all your stress levels, build confidence, lower your blood pressure (or raise it!) It can help boost your immune system but releasing all those feel good endorphins.

Children who spend quality time with their loved ones have more self-confidence. They tend to be more sociable because they sense that their parents value them. Children with higher self-esteem find it easier to build relationships.

Spending time with family strengthens family ties. Families who typically enjoy group activities together will develop stronger relationships and handle stressful situations with more ease. In this busy day and age, it is a luxury for parents to spend time with their children. Making time for the family will allow you to teach your kids valuable life lessons like kindness and fairness. Consequently, kids will start to develop positive behaviors because loved ones influence them. A 2012 study reflected that children who ate regular meals with their families performed better in school. Furthermore, adolescents who spent more time with their parents tended not to abuse alcohol. This is due to more open communication, supportive reasoning and non-judgemental raising.

For example: A mother observed that her teenage daughters were spending less time at home. She conducted an experiment and started baking cookies for them when they returned from school. The girls ignored the cookies at first. As time went by, they began to stop at the kitchen table and grab cookies from the plate. Eventually, they sat down for tea and began to have meaningful conversations with her.

Another reason for having family time is to make memories. Children share more about their lives in these situations that if you ask them ‘What happened in school today?

Ways to spend time with your family without feeling stretched? With everyone having busy schedules, spending time together as a family is a stretch. The good news is that there are ways to make it happen!

Try to make it a point to spend time with your kids. You do not need to go out of your way. Sit down for dinner so you can have family conversations. Something as simple as going out with them for walks after dinner will allow you to teach them life lessons, talk about their day, and your day! You can also read together with your kids. Besides improving their language skills, you can use the time to share sound values with them. Another way to spend time with children is to leave messages for them. Although you may not have the chance to say hello, a little note in their lunch, or a good morning text, means a lot.

Growing teens often feel that their parents overstep their boundaries. Take the time to talk to your teenagers while driving them to school or work. It is convenient and allows them to share the goings-on in their lives. Another way to connect with them is through social media. Have chats with them over Whatsapp, Instagram, TicToc or Snap chat, whatever social media forum they use, show them you are making an effort to get to KNOW them, and step into their lives. It is the way they make sense of the modern world around them. Teens may go through growing pains and can be a handful. That said, they may love to volunteer. Getting them to do volunteer work allows them to make a difference. It also lets you spend quality time with them. By realizing they can make a difference in a bigger picture and getting them outside of themselves they can become better people.

We cannot forget about our aging parents. It can feel lonely for them if they live alone, in a retirement home, or nursing home. If you do not live with your parents, give them a call. It is always special for a parent to get a call from a child, or from a grandchild! Try to have a meal with them, garden with them, show an interest in their new hobbies, because as we age we need to keep the mind young by learning new skills! Cook family meals together, ask about your family history and show how they are important to you (even though you may be all grown up).

And of course, your spouse. The most important person in your life. Keep in touch with him or her with instant messages throughout the day and turn your mobile phone off when you are alone. You could make an effort to start the day together. Even if it is a quick cup of coffee, breakfast is an excellent time to connect. Some couples love to exercise together. Having a nightly jog or walking in the park is a wonderful way to spend quality time with your significant other, re connect and share about your day or just simply to be in each others company (I know how hard it is to have a conversation while using an elliptical!) The important thing is to connect and be present in the moment.

Remember the aunts and uncles who may annoy you? Spending time with them may help you more than you realize. You could interact by creating a group chat on Facebook or Whatsapp that will allow you to keep in touch with everyone. With a group chat, you only need to reach out to them once when organizing functions. Keep track of special events like birthdays or anniversaries.

Spending time with family is important, both for your health and theirs! It is not always easy, it can be challenging, discouraging and annoying. But more importantly, it can also be enlightening, joyful and meaningful! Can anyone genuinely say they DISLIKE big bear hugs, snuggles during movies, and hearing the words, “ I love you?” . I didn’t think so!

All we can do is our best, to be present, and in the moment .

Things you can do!

The Top 10 Things to Do in Niagara Falls with Kids - Family Friendly Activities in Niagara Falls, ON | Tripadvisor

If you need help With Family Counseling

Family Counselling Centre Niagara – Serving couples and families in the Niagara Region since 1964 (fccniagara.on.ca)

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